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Why democracy struggles: Thailand's elite coup culture1


Farrelly, N, Why democracy struggles: Thailand's elite coup culture1, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 67, (3) pp. 281-296. ISSN 1035-7718 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Australian Institute of International Affair

DOI: doi:10.1080/10357718.2013.788123


Since the revolution of 1932 that ended absolute monarchy, Thailand has experienced sporadic military interventions, with 19 coups and coup attempts over those decades. This article explains these military interventions by emphasising the cultural aspects of Thai coup-making at the elite level. Concretely, the article shows that episodic military interventionism—supported by significant and persistent military influence in politics—is now part of a distinctive elite coup culture. In contrast to other so-called ‘coup-prone’ states, Thailand has largely accommodated military interventionism, especially by accepting the defence of the monarchy as a justification for toppling elected governments. Thailand's reluctance to redemocratise, and the haphazardness of the resulting institutional configurations, suggests that Thailand's elite—and, to some extent, the public as well—have deeply internalised the ultimate acceptability of coups. The test of this arrangement may come with the end of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's reign and the potential realignment of military influence in Thai society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coups, democratisation, Thailand
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:International political economy (excl. international trade)
UTAS Author:Farrelly, N (Professor Nicholas Farrelly)
ID Code:145384
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2021-07-20
Last Modified:2021-09-08

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